Sunday, November 9, 2008

Moved to tears

A couple of years, I looked on somewhat bemusedly as well as amusedly as a couple of my friends of mine had tears running down their faces at a Tsai Chin concert that I enjoyed immensely yet seemingly not on the same level and way as them. So I can only imagine how they'd react upon hearing that yesterday at the Yo-Yo Ma and HKCO (i.e., Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra) concert, the Chinese-American cellist's sublime music-making literally moved me to tears.

(And I also can only imagine how they -- at least one of whom I know to have an even greater love of classical music than me -- would have reacted to being at what is only the second concert I've been to in Hong Kong in which people gave the performers standing ovations. This, more than incidentally, on top of it being one which had ended up including three encore performances.)

The thing is -- usually, it's 'only' movies that can make me cry. And, in fact, in the past month, I've viewed a couple of movies that caused me to tear up quite a bit. After viewing the paean to motherhood that is Jacob Cheung's Ticket (2008), my eyes were wet with tears. So much so that I felt compelled to explain to a couple of friends I encountered a few minutes after the screening that that's why I may have looked funny (rather than because something bad had happened in my life recently)!

Nonetheless, my reaction to Ticket was mild in comparison to the Japanese tearjerkers supreme that are Always: Sunset on Third Street (2005) and its sequel, Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007). In all honesty, I found myself weeping so hard when viewing the latter that I actually experienced difficulty breathing and, at the end of the screening, bolted to the toilet to throw water on and thoroughly wash my face! And often, these weren't even tears of sadness but of other emotions, including joy!!

Returning to music, in particular that produced by Yo-Yo Ma and his cello though: Since coming to Hong Kong, I've had the privilege of attending concerts featuring other famed musicians like violinists Midori Goto and her younger brother Ryu (the latter of whose concert I must confess to having enjoyed more than his considerably more celebrated older sister), cellist Trey Lee and pianist Joanna MacGregor (the last of whom was the first musician I saw earn a standing ovation in Hong Kong). But while I found myself admiring the others' virtuosity, with Ma, I really found myself feeling deeply moved by the sounds that he produced from his cello.

So much so that even though this weekend also has included a near-miraculous Arsenal victory over Manchester United and a wonderful hike on Lantau Island in ideal conditions as far as temperature and air quality goes, it's the concert that I consider to be its highlight. And yes, if there should be any doubt, I do consider this to be very high praise indeed!


Glenn, kenixfan said...

So what pieces were on Yo-Yo Ma's program? Hopefully not something as common as the Elgar Cello Cencerto which even Mr. Ma must get tired of performing by now.

His cello is very prominent on the new soundtrack to Ashes of Time Redux -- particularly in the scenes with Maggie late in the film.

I think you'll be happy with that! :)

Anonymous said...

wow, ytsl... looking at the program, it would have been such a big treat for me. envy......

eliza bennet said...

Very happy to hear that you have enjoyed yourself.

It must be great to hear him live, I also like when he performs Astor Piazzola I hope that was in the programme.

YTSL said...

Hi Glenn --

Er... did you check the link to the concert? As for the encore pieces: sorry but I don't know their names as they were not announced or only announced in Mandarin!

And I'm not sure whether I'll be happy with hearing Ma's cello feature so prominently in the soundtrack but I'm eager to find out!! ;b

Hi fallingstones --

Of the five programme pieces, have to say that I totally love "Reverbations of Our Ancient Past" (which I've now heard played live twice by the same orchestra!) and "Zhuang Zhou's Dream". (Also, "Ambush from All Sides" isn't bad either!) And yeah, I would think you'd love them too!

Hi "eliza bennet" --

I'm going to write it again: check the link to the concert for details re the program... ;b

Anonymous said...

Yo Yo Ma was always one of my mother's favourites, but I'm afriad I'm something of a philistine as far as music is concerned. I blame it on my father who was happily tone deaf.

We won't talk about the Arsenal match. No.

YTSL said...

Hi A. --

Hahahaha... so now I realize: You're a Man U fan! Ah well, at least, you're not a Spurs supporter! ;D

lissa said...

I don't think anyone ever make me cry at a concert but then again, I don't go to concerts much, maybe it's different in person?

just award you this

from lissa
(postcards from the clouds)

YTSL said...

Hi Lissa --

It *is* very different in person. To give a dramatic example: I don't enjoy listening to classical music on tape, etc.; only live/in concerts.

And thanks for the award! :)